Babysitters get 12 years in prison for calculated abuse of children
The district court in Den Bosch handed 12-year prison sentences to a Limburg man and woman who grievously abused seven children. The couple worked as babysitters in the Eindhoven area when they abused their victims, who are between 1 and 6 years old. The man, 59-year-old Peter S. from Heel, was also ordered to serve an additional period of mandatory treatment in a psychiatric facility.
The suspects acted in a calculated manner, the court said in its verdict on Monday. The children were abused from 2019 to 2021 by Nancy D., a 54-year-old from Herkenbosch who offered herself as a babysitter through an online platform. The abuse happened on at least twenty occasions, she previously said in a confession. Peter S. watched live via a video connection during those incidents and gave D. instructions which the woman then carried out. In addition, the woman made videos for the man when he was not able to watch the abuse live.
According to the court, the man had a guiding and directing role. The two met in 2018 and had a sadomasochistic relationship, where the woman was sucked into "his increasingly extreme sexual fantasies" and he had complete control over her.
The abuse with the children built up gradually over time. For the children, but also for the parents, "life will never be the same again," the court said. The abuse stopped in 2021, when the parents of a 2-year-old girl happened to see images of the abuse.
The sentence the court issued in its verdict is lower than the sentence recommended by the Public Prosecution Service. The Public Prosecution Service, which spoke of a "disgusting sex case," demanded fifteen years in prison and additional compulsory psychiatric treatment for both suspects during its closing argument in January.
The court did not impose mandatory psychiatric treatment on the female suspect. She was, however, sentenced to a behavior modification program with additional limits to her freedom. This means that she will also remain under intensive supervision and must comply with conditions after the conclusion of her prison sentence.
The parents of the abused children were "disappointed" with the verdict, their lawyer Noor Geeraads said. "In this verdict, the court will now be several years below the sentence recommendation. For parents, that is disappointing," said the victims' advocate. Geeraads represents four children of three sets of parents. "For parents, no prison sentence is actually high enough."
The compulsory psychiatric treatment for Peter S. was approved by the parents. "That is badly needed," said Geeraads. However, the parents are worried about the measure imposed on Nancy D. "They are concerned whether this offers sufficient guarantees that it will never happen again. For the parents, it is clear that these suspects must never again cause such damage to children, and that we must do everything we can to ensure that the suspects get the treatment they desperately need."
Reporting by ANP